The Bath Festival is delighted to be one of the first arts festivals in the country to open its doors from Monday 17 May, for live events following the national lockdown. Its diverse programme of more than 40 music and books events runs until Monday 24 May in some of Bath’s most beautiful venues, (all held under social distancing guidelines).

Highlights include an appearance by Richard Osman, whose debut crime novel The Thursday Murder Club has been one of the biggest hits during lockdown. Other big names visiting the south west in person include Telegraph columnist and author (No Such Thing as Normal) Bryony Gordon, comedian and TV presenter Mel Giedroyc, columnist Polly Toynbee and BBC correspondent turned thriller writer Frank Gardner and bestselling author Kate Mosse.

There will be appearances too from debut writers, including comedian Tez Ilyas talking about his just published memoir The Secret Diary of a British Muslim aged 13 ¾ and two fresh voices in fiction, Caleb Azumah Nelson and Daisy Buchanan.

Topics under discussion in Bath this year will include working from home, the NHS during the pandemic, the peri-menopause and mental wellbeing.

Writers and performers have shown their excitement at returning to live appearances. Harriet Minter, author of Working From Home, said excitedly on Twitter: ’Cannot wait for this! An actual real event! With real people! In an actual venue! Make a mini-break of it and come and join in the fun!’ Broadcaster John Suchet wrote: ‘Beethoven comes to Bath. Live events are back next week! I am thrilled to be appearing at @TheBathFestival to bring you a Beethoven I guarantee you didn’t know before.

For tickets visit: bathfestivals.org.uk or tel: 01225 463362.